Galena, Illinois: The QCA’s “Snowiest Spot”

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On a rainy afternoon in Galena, Illinois, people wear ponchos as they walk from shop to shop. It won’t be long before they change them out for their winter coats and their umbrellas for shovels. Winter weather may be only a few weeks away. That’s a good thing for shops like Honest John’s Trading Post, where shoppers can already start buying Christmas decorations.

”You only have so many shopping weekends until Christmas,” explained Gloria Steffen, an employee at the shop.

All that’s missing in Galena is the snow. The town’s quaint streets make a great backdrop for winter weather, and this could be their year, according to Storm Team 8’s Terry Swails.

Terry’s been crunching the numbers, researching snow stats that date back to the year 1860.

“I’ve looked at all snow storms and their tracks, and it seems Galena is the hot spot,” Swails explained.

That means the Illinois resort town gets the most frequent and consistent snow out of anywhere in the Quad Cities area. (Click on the map to enlarge.)

“The odds there are about 75 percent,” he explained. “In other words, three out of 4 years Galena would see a storm of 6 inches or higher.”

The odds for Davenport or Moline are much less. There are 6 inch storm or more will likely happen only once every two years. The odds are even smaller for the real whoppers, like the snowstorm of 2011.

“A 12 inch snowstorm happens only one every 18 years in the Quad Cities. Teeny tiny,” he said.

Here are some other statistics Terry gathered.

There have only been nine snowfalls in the Quad City area that have surpassed 12 inches since the year 1850.

The odds of a 9” snowfalls are only .25% (1 every 4 years)

That makes the odd of a 12” snowfall only .06% (1 in every 18 years)

That makes the odds of a 15” snowfall only .03% (1 every 32 years)

The odds of an 18” snowstorm are only .01% (1 every 80 years)

Terry also found that January 19th is the date that has the most likelihood of a major snow of 12” or more. Other dates to watch are December 11, January 3, and March 15. Weeks to watch are December 7-14, January 1-7 and March 7-14.

The most snowfall ever recorded in the QC viewing area was in Iowa City in 1951 at 27.2 inches.

Here are some other record numbers from QC area communities.

Town, Year, Max Snowfall Total

Bellevue, IA (2006) 13.9

Ft. Madison, IA (1999) 14.5

Aledo, IL (2011) 15.0

Gladstone, IL (1967) 15.0

Geneseo, IL (1971)16.0

Maquoketa, IA (1973) 16.2

Galva, IL (1971) 16.6

Morrison, IL (1979) 17.0

Princeton, IL (2006) 17.0

Wapello, IA (1999) 17.0

Burlington, IA (1999) 17.5

Keokuk, IA (2011) 17.5

Kewanee, IL (2011) 17.6

Mt. Pleasant, IA (1997) 18.0

DeWitt, IA (1979) 18.1

Mt. Carroll, IL (1926) 18.3

Quad Cities, IA/IL  (1979 and 2011) 18.4

Galena, IL (1951) 19.0

Dubuque, IA (1973) 19.2

Dixon, IL (1979) 19.3

Muscatine, IA (1951) 19.5

Clinton, IA (1979) 20.0

Monmouth, IL (2011) 20.0

Walnut, IL (1979) 22.0

Washington, IA (1951) 22.0

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